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Medline ® Abstract for Reference 156

of 'Breast conserving therapy'

Breast-conserving surgery for breast cancer: patterns of care in a geographic region and estimation of potential applicability.
Foster RS Jr, Farwell ME, Costanza MC
Ann Surg Oncol. 1995;2(3):275.
BACKGROUND: It has been postulated that one of the rewards of breast cancer screening is the increased likelihood of receiving breast-conserving surgery. The recent wide application of screening mammography has led to an acceleration in the otherwise gradual shift toward smaller, earlier-stage breast cancer that has been occurring since the turn of the century.
METHODS: We examined data from patients with pathologically diagnosed breast cancers from all general hospitals in the state of Vermont for use of breast-conserving surgery by era (1975-1984 [n = 1,652]versus 1989-1990 [n = 683]), method of cancer detection, age, clinical tumor-node-metastases (cTNM) stage, pathologic size, and node status.
RESULTS: Cancers detected by mammography were 2% in 1975-1984 and 36% in 1989-1990. Invasive breast cancers<2 cm maximum pathologic diameter were 34% in 1975-1984 and 50% in 1989-1990 (p<0.001). Statewide, the use of breast-conserving surgery for invasive cancer increased from 8.6% in 1975-1984 to 42.9% in 1989-1990 (p<0.001). In 1989-1990 at the single university hospital, 73% of the patients were treated with breast-conserving surgery versus 22% at the community hospitals (range 0-39%, p<0.001). Differential referral patterns related to stage and age did not appear to explain the variation, because the percentages of cTNM stage I and II patients at the university hospital were similar to those of the community hospitals. Using the university hospital as the standard, we estimated that at least 67% of all patients in the state were eligible for breast-conserving surgery in the years 1975-1984 and 73% in the years 1975-1984, a 6% increase.
CONCLUSIONS: Most of the variation in breast-conserving surgery was related to factors other than patient age and stage of disease. Variation was probably related more to local community factors and physician attitudes. At least two-thirds of the women in the state were eligible for breast-conserving surgery even before the wide use of mammography screening.
Vermont Cancer Center, Burlington, USA.